Two of the most remarkable tickets at Cannes this year are US documentaries exploring international political anxieties: Charles Ferguson's Inside Job, and Lucy Walker's Countdown to Zero.
After several coolly received competition entries, two of the hottest tickets at Cannes this year were US documentaries shown in the special screening's category last Sunday and Monday evenings. Charles Ferguson's Inside Job, which examines the global financial crisis, and Lucy Walker's Countdown to Zero, about the threat of nuclear weapons, tapped into political anxieties that permeate even the world's glitziest cultural event.
FRANCE 24's interview with Charles Ferguson
In Inside Job, Charles Ferguson (who made the much-lauded Iraq documentary No End in Sight, winner of the special jury prize for documentaries at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival) takes a dizzyingly complicated subject - the origins of the financial meltdown - and delivers a forceful argument about the dangers of unchecked greed and brazen lack of accountability. Narrated by Matt Damon, the film's most notable strength is that it makes the labyrinth of economic collapse both compelling and comprehensible to people who aren't religious stock market watchers or avid readers of The Wall Street Journal.
Countdown to zero trailer
If Inside Job will make you angry, Lucy Walker's Countdown to Zero might have you fleeing the theatre to look for the nearest fallout shelter. This somewhat sensationalist yet consistently gripping documentary traces the history of nuclear proliferation and spells out, in chilling terms, the danger facing everyone when the weapons end up in the hands of the wrong people (terrorists).
Countdown to Zero - special report
Countdown to Zero sometimes seems to be rearticulating the same ideas (how conceivable vast nuclear destruction is, for example) rather than digging further into, and behind, them. Walker might have delved more deeply into the political history of nuclear armament, rather than having experts repeatedly tell us to fear for our lives.
Date created : 2010-05-18